ArenaNet charrged up the hype machine this week with a look into another one of Guild Wars 2′s featured races: the fearsome charr. As promised in Monday morning’s post, they took a spin through many of the aspects of the charr: their starter area, their voice-work, the visual design behind their race, and some exciting new lore accompanied by images and an epic video of the Black Citadel.
The week kicked off with a post by Devon Carver, a member of the content design team who has contributed to the charr starter map, talking yet again about the benefits of ArenaNet’s iterative process and how their willingness to go back and change things has really strengthened the design of the game. Very little of what he said about the process of feedback and iteration is new to people following the game’s development, but it still gave readers a nice glimpse of what to look forward to as a charr.
Tuesday held a survey of the charr’s voice-acting. Over the last three race weeks, this seems to be the area that ArenaNet’s team has taken the most unified criticism. Despite the fact that these are supposed to be background voices (and part of the “over 60 feature films worth of dialog for Guild Wars 2“), people have disparaged everything from the way the lines are read to the timbre of the voices and whether or not they match up with folks’ ideas of the race in question. If you haven’t heard this yet, head on over to the blog and give it a look-see.
Wednesday was perhaps the greatest day for yours truly, as it took a look at the visual design of the charr. In a one line summary: “My approach was simple: make the charr badass. And then make them even more badass. (- Kekai Kotaki)” It has apparently worked! The charr look totally awesome, and I, for one, would like to send a massive amount of thanks and internet points and karma and cookies to the inimitable Kristin Perry for her guidance in the creation of the female charr. The ‘none or six’ ultimatum that she made on the issue of charr chest accents was quite possibly the highlight of my entire week.
One of the greatest things about the lore updates is the balanced view that it gives to the charr nation as a whole. Yes, they are indisputably warriors. They are fierce and vicious and seem to pursue victory with a whole-heartedness that is almost terrifying. But they are also strictly disciplined and hold honor in high regard. They will give up anything to protect those they love and serve with. Ree’s story, interwoven with the post about the ranks and orders of the charr infrastructure, was quite touching and revealed a wholly necessary softer side to the hell-cats we met in the world of Guild Wars 1.
It would have been very easy, I think, to make an entire race of baddies and leave them at that. Goodness knows, most GW1 players wouldn’t have argued at all. It wouldn’t be hard to leave them as they were and leave them to people who wanted to play darker characters, with bloodlust and little thought to the greater good. Taking the time to give the charr not only a hint at a culture, but in fact sentiments and virtues, is an excellent move. The charr are not baddies – they’re badasses.
People who’ve read Edge of Destiny are possibly not surprised to find this out: in that book, we see that Rytlock has not only a strict code of honor, but what appears to be truly deep affection for his comrades. It’s comforting to see that he’s not an exception to the rule, and to see the whole of the charr have been made into more sympathetic characters. That same fleshing-out seems to apply to other races as well – specifically, the few asura that readers have met in the two published books have added more depth to our idea of the race as a whole. Snaff may be my favorite character in the whole of the Guild Wars ‘verse, and it has mostly to do with the fact that he’s got quite a bit more depth than most asura that we met in the Eye of the North.
To our readers: What was your favorite part of this race week? What do you think of the charr?
Edit: My choice of the word ‘honor’ has been questioned, which is totally valid. I suppose that ‘honor’ might just be the closest word I can find for it. That is, their honor isn’t bound up in chivalry or niceties: their honor is tied to their warband and legion, their comport in battle and under other stresses, their usefulness, their bravery.
Better word? I’m open to suggestions.
About the author: Elixabeth has been a Guild Wars fan since the release of Nightfall, and is now eagerly awaiting the release of Guild Wars 2. To bide the time, she began fiddling around with the online GW community and takes great pleasure combining two of her great loves (writing and games) here at TalkTyria. Follow her on Twitter, if you like!